On aspirations and ambitions

Others haven’t spotted this path but you have.  Others may join you, but for now you are alone.

Is this path an aspiration or an ambition?

We sometimes use the words together or interchangeably, but they’re different.

Ambition is about going around to obtain – originally, canvassing votes.

Inspiration is about breathing into.

One feel more like an accomplishment, the other a process – we cannot breathe in and in and in, there has to be breathing out.

The Heath brothers write about how:

‘We will never know our reach unless we stretch.’*

They identify what stretching is all about:

‘The promise of stretching is not success, it’s learning.  It’s self insight.  It’s the promise of gleaning the answers to some of the most important and vexing questions of our lives: What do we want? What can we do?  Who can we be?  What can we endure?’*

And because we cannot breathe in and in or out and out, here’s the other side of this from Albert Schweitzer:

“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who sought and found out how to serve.”**

Perhaps ambition alone makes us forget what is possible, as Martin Buber pointed out:

‘Men prefer to forget how many possibilities are open to them.’^

For now, you have spotted this path, does it lead you to some ambition or will it teach you how to breathe?

(*From Chip and Dan Heath’s The Power of Moments.)
(**Albert Schweitzer, quoted in Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?)
(^From Martin Buber’s I and Thou.)


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